Israel's capacity to spy from space has taken a leap forward. The Ofek 9 satellite was launched yesterday from the Palmahim base, Channel 2 News reports. The imaging and spy satellite was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, and cost $300 million.
Within a few hours, the satellite was positioned in orbit at an altitude of 400 kilometers, and sent its first signal back to earth. Within four days it is expected to start sending pictures to the base station in Israel, and it will then be known if all its imaging systems, which were developed at Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) unit Elop, are working properly.
The satellite was launched on top of a Shavit rocket built by Israel Aerospace Industries, with its motors coming from Israel Military Industries.
Ofek 9 is Israel's sixth spy satellite. It will replace Ofek 4, which will come to the end of its useful life within two years, after ten years in space.
According to foreign reports, Ofek 9 will move in an orbit that will give Israel pictures of the Middle East, including Syria and Iran, making it a tool for monitoring armament programs in hostile countries.
Ofek 9's high resolution cameras are capable of producing pictures identifying objects only tens of centimeters in size.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 23, 2010
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